How do pedestrian buttons and walk signals work?

Once a pedestrian push button is pressed, a walk signal will come on with the associated green light for vehicles. Signal controllers handle these calls for service in sequence, so the walk signal will activate when it is that direction’s turn in the sequence. Just like a vehicle pulling up on a side street, pedestrians have to wait for the signal to cycle around to receive the walk light.

 The “walk” indication comes on for only a short period of time—usually 7 seconds—and is meant to get pedestrians started across the street. When the red hand (don’t walk) indication starts flashing, pedestrians are no longer allowed to leave the curb. However, if they are already in the crosswalk, they may continue crossing the street. Missoula’s signals have pedestrian countdown timers that work in conjunction with the red flashing hand indication to show pedestrians how much time they have before the solid red hand (don’t walk) indication will be displayed. Pedestrians should not be in the street when the solid red hand is displayed.

Show All Answers

1. How do traffic signals work?
2. How does a traffic signal sense cars?
3. Why do some lights stay green when there are no cars present?
4. How does an emergency vehicle, such as a fire truck or ambulance, change the signal to give them a green light in the direction they are traveling?
5. Can I make a light change to green by flashing my headlights?
6. What happens when a train approaches a traffic signal near a railroad crossing?
7. How are traffic signals coordinated in a system?
8. How do pedestrian buttons and walk signals work?
9. Why do I need to push a button to get a walk light?
10. What new technologies are coming our way?